Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

Twas The Day Before Classes

Twas the day before classes, and all through the dorm, excited and exhausted, this was the norm. Tomorrow begins their path to tomorrow. The things they will learn, will help them to grow.

There is a reason that I stay away from poetry. But I wanted to give it another shot, at least for this story. End result, tacky and sappy as usual.

Thy dynamics of being a non-custodial parent, I have been preparing for the day, my daughter, and next year my younger daughter, would go off to college. This is the path they have chosen, and of course with my blessing. Part of that path however, is the realization, that they are no longer “under your roof”, out of your eyesight, whatever parenting phrase you like.

The biggest part of this new direction, is the absence, doing without the constant presence or the ability to have uninhibited contact at any moment. Granted, technology such as cell phones and Facetime and Zoom have been a game changer to reaching out to a college student or the student to the parent. But, the lack of a physical presence at home, is definitely a struggle to deal with emotionally.

As I said, I have been my daughter’s non-custodial parent. We were separated by a decent distance, so visits were pretty much like “breaks” during college; a weekend here, a few weeks here, and then back. It is just for me, I had already been doing this through high school. And though the new level of education, and promotion to adulthood, the tradition was still the same this year; Summer visit, then back home, or now, to college.

I gave my daughter one final pep talk with no topics that would lead to guilt being added to one of the most exciting times of her life that she was about to begin. I urged caution and common sense when out and about. I told her I was excited to see the many new things and directions that she would take. Finally, I told her, among all the excitement, remember to take a breath in, and enjoy the moment to take in and save the memory of this time.

As I prepared to say goodbye, get that last pre-college hug, I told her I would cut back on the amount of time I was spending looking at old photos. I had new photos to take, albeit, will likely be much less. And the most important thing I would finally give to her as an adult, her space. My days of being able to see her grades and progress reports are gone. The days of me expecting her to be somewhere at a specific time so that I can call, are gone. I asked of her only one thing, that we at least have one phone call a week. I know her schedule may not align with mine, between her classes, and other activities on campus, so to make time, that we can catch up at least once a week. Of course, I told her she can reach out to me any time that she wants, though I think it will likely be kept to the once a week arrangement. I will likely keep sending my small daily text messages, just to say “hi” and that I am thinking of her.

And that was it. She was off.

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